Thanks to Historic Anthology 6 bringing in Tarmogoyf to Historic, players have been trying to revitalise the legendary “Boomer” Jund Midrange archetype. Its gameplay involves discard into a wall of removal and utility creatures. Tarmogoyf allowed the shell to play a cheap creature that heavily clocks the opponent.
If you enjoy sorcery-speed gameplay which involves a ton of interaction and value permanents, this is going to be a deck for you.
Let’s start off with the interaction.
As any Jund deck, this shell plays a ton of interaction, in this case it’s 14 pieces of maindeck interaction.
Thoughtseize is a classic catch-all that can either poke holes in the opponent’s plan or clears way for your own threats. The fact that you can take any nonland adds depth to the decisions and makes you have to choose very carefully. The decisions are especially tough when you are faced with decisions to take an enabler, a payoff, or a generically good card. Often, there won’t be one correct decisions, but rather different paths to lead the game down to. You can hold on to your Thoughtseize if you know what you’re playing against, especially in post-board games, and fire it off on a key turn. An example of such a situation would include casting Thoughtseize one turn before the opponent’s some crucial moment like turn three against Dragonstorm or UW before they can play Supreme Verdict. Don’t feel compelled to play it always on turn one.
Fatal Push is your catch-all which might be played as a four-of should the meta switch to being more one-and-two-drop-centric. The fact that it costs a single mana makes it super efficient and allows you to multispell easily. The deck has multiple ways to turn on revolt but usually it will just kill an early creature. It’s especially great against Prowess-type creatures when you don’t care how big a creature grows.
Bonecrusher Giant and its adventure mode Stomp is a removal spell that has been played everywhere since its Eldraine release. What makes it particularly strong is that it’s a dual spell that’s both a removal and a threat. This deck sometimes is going to want to put the pedal to the metal and that’s when a 4 power creature is going to come in handy. Don’t feel bad about slamming it just as a creature; you don’t need to extract all the value always off it.
An alchemy exclusive card, Molten Impact, is our 4-of sorcery speed removal spell. It deals 4 damage to either a creature or a planeswalker which makes it a nice walker finisher, but also kills chonkier creatures like Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet or a Ledger Shredder. In addition, it has its stapled-on trigger which essentially lets you take excess damage and later use it on a different creature. In practice, if you kill a 1/2 Ghitu Lavarunner, later you can play another Molten Impact on a creature with 6 toughness and it will die – it will be dealt 4 off Impact and 2 off the excess damage from the previous Impact.
All in all, the removal suite is diverse and powerful. Depending on the meta you can, and should, adjust the shell to it.
As most reactive decks, this shell needs a continuous source of card advantage to progress its game plan after it’s stabilised. Planeswalkers usually do the best job as there are few playable ways to cleanly get rid of one.
One of the most versatile planeswalkers, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, is played in 3 copies here. She provides removal on a downtick which is a great way to protect her. She has two plus abilities of difference uses. The first one provides card advantage and essentially allows us to draw two cards a turn. If there is a land on top, it is exiled but also filtered off the top so we don’t draw it. The second +1 makes mana which might be relevant the turn you play her, e.g. follow it up with Stomp from Bonecrusher Giant. However, when you untap with her, the plus can allow you to multispell which puts the opponent further behind. It can also just ramp you up to a spell for which you’d otherwise wouldn’t have mana like The Hourglass Coven. On top of all of that, there is the ultimate that can be fired off after 3 turns and is, as most ultimates, game-winning.
Another online-only version of a card appears in the deck and that’s Minsc & Boo. It’s a very aggressive planeswalker that allows you to attack with a 4/4 hamster with trample on the turn you play it. If you need to play defense, you can keep chumping with the hamster as it comes back every turn on your upkeep. There is also a removal option that you could use immediately but you actually lose a creature in the process. Arguably the best setup would be making a 4/4 hamster, attacking, the following turn attacking again and then sacrificing it to the -2 ability, thus killing a creature and drawing 4 cards.
At this point, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Seasoned Pyromancer are red midrange decks mainstays in the format and it’s no different here. Both provide card filtering and card advantage. Flipped Fable of the Mirror-Breaker is a must-kill as copying our other creatures is deadly. You can copy the aforementioned Seasoned Pyromancer to either make you go through your deck fast to find a specific answer or straight up draw a bunch of cards when you’re hellbent.
The new anthology addition, Tarmogoyf, is our main way to put a lot of pressure on our opponents. The deck has 7 card types to it usually should be around a 3/4. Discard helps a lot as you can discard your opponent’s card that adds another type to the graveyard. It also roadblocks very well if you need to take a defensive position in a game.
There are a few cards that are sprinkled over as they provide some unique effects that we want access to. Lukamina, Moon Druid on its face is an over-costed 2/2 creature which finds lands. However, if you can setup a late game situation when you can Specialize it, by discarding the lands she sought, she becomes a really flexible threat. There is a total of 5 options and each brings something else to the table, while all being 4/4s. Depending on the needs you can opt for a creature that boosts others and helps in combat, taps something indefinitely, flies and has flying, has deathtouch and has to be blocked, or creatures more creatures. If you take all those effects into consideration, you’ll see that there basically aren’t spots when none would be useful.
A single artifact-type spell in the deck is Pact Weapon. It encourages an aggressive approach based on attacking, all while drawing cards in the process. If you’re playing against a non-interactive deck, you basically can’t die thanks to its passive ability.
The most expensive spell in the deck, The Hourglass Coven, is a powerful digital-only top end threat. Not only does it provide a 3/3 body on the front, but it also summons two 2/2s which, thanks the passive, are 3/3s as well. In essence, you get 9 power and 9 toughness for 6 mana and additional effects that those summoned Hags provide such as giving Ward, Menace, or discard.
Arguably the best stabilisation mechanism in the deck is playing Elder Gargaroth. It attacks, it blocks, it draws cards, it gives more blockers, it gains life. Don’t forget it has reach as it will come in handy very often. In general, a swiss knife of a top end.
Another threat that stabilises well is Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, which is also an anthology addition. Having maindeck graveyard hate stapled onto a card that provides lifegain is powerful and flexible and a true menace for aggressive red decks.
Matchups and Sideboard Guide
|+1 Infernal Grasp||-1 Pact Weapon|
|+1 Ritual of Soot||-3 Thoughtseize|
|+1 Anger of the Gods|
|+1 Angrath's Rampage|
We assume a control role. The best hands include interaction and some threat to push the advantage. We need to prolong the game until we can slam Elder Gargaroth which will surely seal the deal. Their removal is mainly 2 and 3 damage spells so don’t play Tarmogoyf if it’d die to that removal.
However prosaic that sounds, kill everything at sight. Try not to deal yourself too much damage with your land base.
|+1 Infernal Grasp||A-Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes|
|+1 Ritual of Soot||-2 Seasoned Pyromancer|
|+1 Anger of the Gods||-1 Lukamina, Moon Druid|
|+1 Noxious Grasp|
We again assume a control role. While against other decks we are looking to turn the corner, here it’s going to be very difficult considering their usually high life total. The best way to win is to control a game up to a point when any creature can get it done or through Chandra, Torch of Defiance‘s ultimate.
Mono Red Aggro
Once again, we play as ‘kill everything at sight’ deck. The main difference know is that our creatures absolutely matter in combat so we do want to add to the battlefield. Mono Red decks will have a hard time getting rid of a Tarmogoyf. If you have an option to trade in combat, take it. I frequently chump just to save life in order not to allow them to burn me out of the game late. You have way more card advantage then them so the game is about the life total.
Similarly to the mono red matchup, you want to ensure proper board presence and make their combat difficult. Our removal will mess up their attacks. Ritual of Soot is basically lights out against them so if you can ensure surviving up to that point you’ll be golden. Be always mindful of Collected Company.
|+1 Angrath, the Flame-Chained||-2 Fatal Push|
|+1 Chandra, Awakened Inferno||-3 Molten Impact|
|+1 Tireless Tracker|
|+1 Ambergris, Citadel Agent|
|+1 The Hourglass Coven|
This time, we don’t want to play control but aggro. We are the beat-down in this matchup. Your creatures are key to put pressure on the opponent. Ideally, you’d set up a situation when the opponent has to play a mass removal spell and you follow up with a planeswalker, which is going to be much more difficult to deal with. You’ve got some powerful topend in The Hourglass Coven and Chandra, Awakened Inferno that will cause real headaches.
Your Thoughtseize should poke hole in the opponent’s plan. Force them to make 1for1 trades, and you will come ahead on cards.
Tips and Tricks
- Fable of the Mirror-Breaker flipping after the third chapter triggers Revolt.
- You can discard Seasoned Pyromancer with another Pyromancer, Lukamina, Moon Druid‘s Specialize or Fable of the Mirror-Breaker so that you can use its ability from the graveyard.
- Tarmogoyf‘s power and toughness change dynamically so pay attention to the types being added and removed.
- Chandra, Torch of Defiance‘s first +1 ability says ‘cast’. That’s why you cannot play lands off the ability and if you hit one, it’ll always deal 2 damage.
- If playing against an aggressive deck, you can consider not playing Thoughtseize. but waiting to discard it to chapter two of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker.
- You can grow Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet by sacrificing its tokens, thus increasing power and later making Minsc & Boo’s -2 ability stronger.
- If Bonecrusher Giant‘s Stomp is fizzled, Giant won’t go on an adventure.
- In very narrow situations, you might want to Thoughtseize yourself and discard a card that has a type that’s not in the graveyard in order to grow Tarmogoyf and attack for lethal.
- If you have a Tarmogoyf and there is no Instant type in the graveyard and the opponent casts seemingly lethal damage removal like Wizard's Lightning, the Goyf will see the instant type entering the graveyard and will grow by 1. Thus, Goyf will survive.